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In my quest to test and explore the latest in motoring ,I have visited many exotic locations and  met some very interesting people but never ever have I been stopped in my tracks by a swan! The incident occurred on the first day of my test week with the latest Mazda CX-5, (a Sport version in Northern Ireland while in the ROI there is a GT Sport version.) Suddenly a swan wandered onto the main road; clearly it made its way from the nearby River Bann. No matter what way I tried to go, my feathered friend blocked my path. Luckily two police officers arrived and they struggled to clear the road.  Eventually though, the swan was directed back to the river and normal service happily, was resumed. The remainder of the week was trouble free as I got to like this popular SUV more and more; I must say one of the best currently on the market and in its latest guise it does offer the buyer a lot.

The original CX-5 arrived in 2012 and due  to its popularity, it has always been carefully updated without changing the successful formula that has won so many customers over. The second-generation model was updated in mid 2018 with additional standard safety equipment and a power increase for the high-output 2.2 litre Skyactiv-D diesel engine, whilst last year saw the introduction of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the range as well as  a revised climate control panel.

My test example had a184PS 2.2 litre diesel engine and matched to a six speed manual transmission it did deliver a sporty drive; rest to 100kph (62mph) in 9.6 seconds and top speed 209kph (130mph) and CO2 186g/km. And for those days when the going gets tough, i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive technology for increased traction and a reassuring sense of control every time. Petrol versions deliver about 20PS less. Subtle tweaks to the suspension set-up, has further refined the CX-5’s well-regarded balance of agile handling and comfortable ride quality. A thicker front-anti roll bar, smaller rear anti-roll bar and revised front stabiliser bushings combined with new urethane material in the rear damper top mounts and amended damping valve structures to deliver the improvements. In addition, the introduction of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system – GVC Plus, which now features direct yaw control to enhance stability at speed. As a result, the latest model’s dynamic set-up is unchanged, although improvements to sound insulation have further enhanced cabin refinement. Yes, the latter is an area which I really noticed; with the latest model you do travel in style and comfort.

I have been fortunate to try every CX-5 since its introduction and the model tested has become my favourite and although badged Sport, style wise it is tastefully executed. Exclusivity is enhanced further with a unique eight inch colour TFT dial display and a premium steering wheel design with a chrome centre bezel and high-grade stitching. A nice touch and one I really appreciated on chilly mornings, the heated steering wheel and for added pleasure likewise for the two front seats which also have ventilation. With such a variety of luxury SUVs on the market we have come to expect a lot and the Sport features a host of equipment highlights, move up a grade to the GT Sport and there is even more. Safety is a priority throughout the Mazda range and in addition to the extensive safety kit tally found across the CX-5 range, the Sport’s standard Safety Pack includes Adaptive LED Headlights, Driver Attention Alert, Rear Smart City Brake Support and 360o View Monitor. A tell take re the exterior this model in the CX-5 line-up rides on 19 inch bright alloy wheels. To be successful a lot is asked of an SUV, it is really a vehicle of many roles and with this Mazda comes the quality of travelling like in a premium saloon and of course and very important, load carrying ability; 1,620 litre cargo capacity.

Ian Lynas


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